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by Jourdan Lane
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
Description: Dale's been in love with Brandt -- his best friend and sometime boss -- from the moment they met on the ranch. For nine years, they've lived and worked side by side. It hasn't always been easy and they've had plenty of words and fights, but one thing Dale is sure of is that the stubborn man he admires is someone he doesn't ever want to be without. But Brandt is straight. Or so he wants Dale to believe. He can't seem to see his way through years of fear and hiding to tell Dale the truth. Better to let him think all they'll ever be is friends. One night, however, Brandt crosses a line and everything between them changes -- and not for the better. Fighting's easy. Making up is the hard part. Can they see eye to eye before it costs them everything? Originally published in Cowboy Up!
eBook Publisher: Torquere Press/Single Shot Classic, 2011 www.torquerepress.com
eBookwise Release Date: June 2011
15 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [64 KB]
Reading time: 42-60 min.
I watched as Brandt opened all of the cards, passing them around so everyone could read the stupid jokes and sayings. He then got started on the gifts. There weren't too many, but he got some really nice stuff, including a cerulean blue long-sleeved shirt that I'd have done just about anything to see him in. I didn't realize how long I'd been watching Brandt, until Evan slid off of his stool and leaned in a bit closer.
"Straight, huh?" He asked, gesturing toward Brandt.
I took a long swig of my beer before nodding. "Unfortunately."
It wasn't until a few moments later that I realized what I'd said and how it had sounded. I looked over at Evan. "Sorry, that was..."
"It's ok," he cut in. "I know how it is. We can still share a beer."
I looked back to Brandt just as Glenn handed him my gift. Some of the guys were making a big deal about how much it weighed and that it served Brandt right that someone would give him a box of bricks for his birthday. Brandt laughed right along with them as he tore the paper off, but as he opened the box, his laughter abruptly stopped. Brandt slowly reached in and pulled out the large sculpture, setting it carefully onto the table. The laughter from the guys around the table soon stopped as they saw the piece and tried to get closer for a better look.
"Damn, somebody sure does like you," David, the idiot I'd worked with earlier in the day, said. "Who gave you that?"
Brandt shook his head, still staring at the sculpture. "I don't know."
The guys around the table soon started talking again, pointing out things on the sculpture and carrying on about it. Glenn shot a sympathetic glance my way and then looked back to Brandt, who was admiring the sculpture. Brandt soon raised his head, giving me a heated look. I had to fight not to look away from him. For the first time ever, I couldn't read his expression...and it scared the hell out of me.
I turned on the stool and caught Jack's attention. "Shot of Cuervo...please?"
Evan, who I'd forgotten about for a few minutes, brushed his hand over my back. I leaned into his touch without thinking and he rested his chin on my shoulder. "It was a beautiful gift, Dale."
I turned my head slightly and sighed and in the next moment, he placed a gentle kiss against my lips. I groaned and turned into him a bit more, thinking that any kind of touch I got that was comforting would do a world of good. But then I remembered that we were in a regular bar and pulled away. "I've got a room," He whispered, "If you're interested."
"He's not interested," Brandt growled as he stepped up to my other side.
"Well now I don't believe that's for you to decide," Evan said, straightening himself up.
I could feel the tension escalating between the two men on either side of me and sighed. "Can you give us a minute, Evan?"
Evan glared at Brandt for a moment, but finally grabbed his beer and moved away from the bar. I shot an unhappy glance at Brandt before shaking my head. "Just because it's your birthday doesn't mean I won't whip your ass."
"Heh, you tried that earlier and failed. You drunk?"
"Working on it," I growled. "What do you want?"
"We need to talk."
"Look, if it's about the gift..."
"It's not about the fucking gift, Dale," he said through clenched teeth.
I sighed and slid off the stool. "Fine, let's talk."
Brandt turned and headed toward the back of the bar and I followed. We walked into the bathroom and as soon as the door closed, he turned abruptly, pushing me back against the door. It knocked my hat off and I caught it with one hand while I pushed at Brandt's chest with the other. "What the fuck is wrong with you?"
"You mean you don't know?" He growled. "I can't believe it; the all-knowing Dale Marshall doesn't know it all after all."
"You're drunk, Brandt," I snapped, trying to push him away from me. "Or at least damned close to it."
"You're here picking up some stray fuck - on my fucking birthday?"
I rolled my eyes. "Well, what the hell am I supposed to do? Go home with the birthday boy?" ENDEXCERPT